The Market


RM steps up its game to sell Miles Nadal’s ‘Ultimate Sneaker Collection’

RM steps up its game to sell Miles Nadal’s ‘Ultimate Sneaker Collection’ 3rd June 2024

One of the great things about being fabulously wealthy (so I’m told) is that one has the means to make impulsive purchases, writes Simon de Burton.

Back in 1995, prolific Concorde user Farhad Azima was enjoying a light breakfast at Claridge’s in London’s Mayfair when, while leafing through a copy of the previous day’s Times, he discovered that a prototype droop nose cone left over from the supersonic airliner’s development was to cross the block at Sotheby’s within the next 20 minutes.

After knocking-back the last of his coffee and indulging in one more triangle of toast generously coated in thick-cut marmalade (so I like to think) he strolled around the corner to the Bond Street saleroom, arrived at the auction in the nick of time, raised a hand and instantly became the new owner of the 24-foot proboscis – which he subsequently incarcerated in a glass display cabinet in the ‘yard’ of his Kansas City home.

Canadian business tycoon Miles Nadal (pictured, below, at last weekend's event) experienced a similar Damascene moment back in 2019 as he read a report in the New York Times announcing the sale (also at Sotheby’s) of the ‘Ultimate Sneaker Collection’.

But rather than go through the boring rigmarole of having to bid on each of the 100 lots, he simply called the auction house and said, “I’ll take the lot,” (bar one pair) in exchange for an undisclosed but no doubt generous sum.

In a subsequent interview Nadal, the former chairman and CEO of $1.5bn investment corporation MDC Partners Inc, said he made the impulse buy because “I was bored one day, sitting at my cottage in Muskoka…”

Soon after, he completed the ‘Ultimate Sneaker Collection’ by acquiring the one pair he had originally ‘eschewed’ – Nike’s rare ‘Moon Shoe’ – for a then record $437,500 (a sum dwarfed last year when a pair of Air Jordans worn by Michael Jordan in the 1998 NBA Final sold for $2.2m).

Nadal then spent another huge sum creating a glass-walled display area in which to individually display his footwear haul – which could, ironically, only be approached by crossing a gleaming white floor when wearing protective slippers in order to eliminate the possibility of scuff marks.

This week, however, there were signs that Nadal might have become bored again, both with his giant car collection and with owning considerably more sneakers than he has feet to put them on. As a result, he called upon RM Sotheby’s to send them down the road to find new owners around the world.

Of the 293 lots (Nadal carried on buying for a while) , the 50 prime examples were intermingled with his ‘Dare to Dream’ car, motorcycle and automobilia collection, the star offering being those 1972 Nike Waffle Racing moon shoes that had cost $437,500 five years ago.

This time around, they fetched, er, $306,000, with the runners-up (sorry) being a pair of game-worn shoes signed by basketball legend Michael Jordan that realised $162,000.

Next followed some Nike X Louis Vuitton Air Force 1s that were sold with a pilot case for $85,200, then a 2016 replica pair of the high-top Nikes worn by Michael J Fox as Marty McFly in the cult 1985 movie Back to the Future.

Perhaps the best value, however, were the 1985 Nike Air Jordan Chicagos that sold for only $13,200  –  being size 14 –  they offered more for one's money than most of the other pairs that were more mainstream nines and 10s.

But if you’re kicking yourself for missing out on the ultimate ‘kicks’ mentioned above, don’t despair: the remainder of Nadal’s collection remains available to bid on online until around 11 am EDT on Wednesday at

By the way, if you’re new to the sneaker world and are wondering why the majority of Nadal’s collection appears to be in pristine condition, it may not simply because they have never been worn: believe it or not, there’s a thriving industry in restoring valuable or much-loved examples to as new condition (while being careful to retain their souls, of course…).

Photos by RM Sotheby’s, strictly copyright